April 09, 2001 Amon Carter Museum Opens Doors for Free Public Preview of New Building
Fort Worth, TX, April 9, 2001—Just six months away from the completion of its two-year, $39 million expansion, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth is opening its doors to give visitors a preview of the new building. The free, self-guided tours will take place Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, April 29, from noon to 4 p.m.
Free parking will be available in the Will Rogers Memorial Center parking lot across Lancaster Avenue from the museum. Visitors will enter the museum through the chain-link fence on Lancaster Avenue, south of the museum. Although the entire museum will be handicap accessible when it opens in October 2001, only the space on the street level will be barrier-free during these preview tours.
"Although the final finishes, furniture and artworks are not installed, the actual construction of the new museum is substantially completed," said Bob Workman, Amon Carter Museum associate director. "We thought this would be a great time to give everyone a chance to see the Carter's beautiful new building before we officially open to the public on Sunday, October 21. Very few people get to see a new museum before the art is installed or tour areas that will not be open to the public once the museum is operational."
The tour will allow visitors to view almost all of the new 109,000-square-foot building, including the 160-seat auditorium, the new Lancaster Avenue entrance, library, photography conservation laboratory, atrium, members' lounge (with its panoramic view of downtown Fort Worth), education facilities, art storage vaults, and the galleries.
"The Carter has always been one of the beloved institutions of Fort Worth," said Amon Carter Museum Director Rick Stewart, "but it was a small building, and I suspect many people do not realize the scope and significance of our collection of American art. Our spacious new galleries will allow visitors to see much more of the collection."
The museum's new building will have three times the exhibition space as before, allowing four times the amount of artwork to be on view. The trademark façade and 19,000 square feet of architect Philip Johnson's original 1961 structure remain intact, while additions from 1964 and 1975 have been replaced with the new construction. The 94-year-old Johnson and his firm, Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, designed the Carter expansion, resulting in what Johnson has called "by far the best building plan we have ever done." Thus, the architecture of the museum, both old and new, spans the career of one of the world's most distinguished architects.
The addition, covered in a rare brown Narjan granite that was quarried in Saudi Arabia and fabricated in Italy, was designed as an understated backdrop for the 1961 building, complementing its exterior of creamy Texas shell stone. The result is a stunning yet functional structure of timeless design that provides expansive areas not only for the display and storage of the collection but also for research, education, membership activities and other programs.
The Carter opened in 1961 through the generosity of Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879-1955) to house his collection of approximately 400 paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. The collection has since grown to almost 250,000 works of American art, including masterpieces in painting, sculpture, photography and works on paper by leading artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The photography collection alone is one of the largest and most significant in the country. As a whole, the Carter's collection presents a vivid panorama of American art and culture from 1825 to 1950.